Commemorative balls…?

If you could ask anything you wanted about commemorative baseballs, what would you want to find out? What secrets or mysteries would you want explained?

Three days from now, if all goes according to plan, I’ll be talking to someone at MLB who handles commemorative balls. I already have a list of questions, but I want to know what’s important to you; I don’t want to forget to ask anything important.

I’ll say more about this later. For now, just know that this is all connected to my next book


  1. brewfan87


    Being a fan of statistics, I was always curious as to how many of each are produced? Let’s say the first commemorative All-Star ball in 1979, did they produce 30,000 of them, or 300,000. I don’t know, that’s just something that is interesting to me, as I am trying to collect all the All-Star commemorative baseballs, I have 29 of the 31, needing only 1986 and 2001, which are quite difficult to come by. The last three 2001 All-Star balls have sold for $60, $135, and $95, respectively, on eBay (I regret not bidding on the $60 one, because who knows how much the next one will end up at. I will stop rambling now. Keep up the good work with the snagging, and the blogging, and the running and the jumping and the diving and the throwing. (Baseball Tonight reference)

    ~ Ben


    How much more do they cost to make, and how many different types have been produced by Rawlings for various ceremonies/events.

    And how much more does a gold ball in the HR derby cost to make

  3. steelcity9999

    As you know form my many annoying emails, I’m a Rawlings MLB commemorative baseball fanatic. I now have 209 of a confirmed 239 varieties of Rawlings commemoratives (all official game or official promo balls). I have a list of questions I’ll be emailing, just to spare your readers from my ramblings.

  4. steelcity9999

    And to brewfan87 –
    If it is OK by Zack to use his comments section for buy/trade/sell – I have six or seven 2001 All-Star baseballs. I know how tough they are to get; I could part with one via trade or sale if you’re interested. That ’86 All-Star, well that’s another story! I have several, but some are the rarest of the rare: RED-stamped! (If all my research is correct, they apparently only retailed blue-stamped, but USED reds on the field, and possibly used both.) Zack if this is an inappropriate post just let me know, I’ll understand.



    I agree with joshcards…..I’d like to know who designs the logo, and who has final say on the approval.

    I’m a diehard Mets fan (pathetic, I know), but who in the world designed their awful 2009 Citi Field logo ball? I know what it is, but there’s a good portion of people that would have no idea that the ball is for the Mets home stadium, because it doesn’t say Mets or Citi Field on it. Horrible design, in my eyes.

    Also, are any of the commemorative balls made any differently? For example, are any of the balls used in the home run derby made any differently than regular game balls? What about the WBC balls? I know the international basketball is a different size than the NBA basketball, but I’m curious if the baseballs are any different.

  6. joshscards

    who comes up with the design?, does Bug Selig have to approve/ have any say in the desgin?, how far in advance do they start designing for a new ball?…just a few off the top of my head


    Zack, Here’s my question….what was the first commemorative ball EVER? was there ever a ball like this WAY back? maybe after World War I or WW II ? How about when the Braves went to milwaukee or the browns to baltimore? the Dodgers to LA? Etc… The answer might depend on how we define commemorative ball. ALSO…do you have any word on whether the design of the current, basic, standard major league ball used in games will have a new design of some kind in the future? -Dave

  8. steelcity9999

    riyeff.dave –
    It’s commonly believed that the first ever commemorative was the 1978 World Series baseball, followed by the 1979 All-Star Game ball. The first ever regular season Special Event Commemorative baseball was the 1991 Comiskey Park Inaugural Season ball (American League, Bobby Brown Pres. Stamp). All three of these baseballs are probably considered somewhat common. My guess is they had huge production runs, and I’ve even read that they continued to produce the first two for several years after the events. You’ll see some versions that were clearly “second or third productions” where the “Haiti” stamp is in a different location, or nonexistent.


    Is there a list of all of the commemorative balls that have been used? Also, are there any days in the baseball season, such as opening day, where commemorative balls are used in major league baseball? Is it extremely rare to get a commemorative ball that was meant to be a ball used for a player’s 500th homerun, 300th hit, etc?

  10. redsfan101

    Here are some questions:
    Have there been baseball giveaways?
    What was the first commerative baseball?
    Are there certain limits for the logo?

    Those are all i can think of!


    I haven’t posted for a long time. I am in Taiwan now and I have been reading your blog.

    1. Have any players ever complained the use of commemorative balls? More specifically, batters read seam rotation to determine type of pitches being thrown. For specially balls like 08 AS ball (gray and black seam), 06 AS ball (yellow, black), and 09 (red, black), are they more difficult to read or give pitchers any advantage.
    2. For balls with gold imprint like WBC and WS balls, would the gold imprint interfere with a hitter’s judgement even after balls being mudded.
    3. Why there have been a surge of the use of commemorative balls in recent years? (special balls for new/about-to-retire ballpark, special event, exhibition games out side of America)

  12. cjistheman

    I gotta know how they think of all the different designs they use of each ball. Like for the World Series, All Star Game, etc.


    I don’t think there’s a whole lot to these balls. They’re made just like all the other balls. The only difference is that they stamp a different logo on it to commemorate a special event. Underneath the skin they’re all the same and they’re utilized the same way. They all have to meet certain standards, be tested, rubbed down with mud, and then hit the field for practice or game play. I’d be interested to find out who is responisble for designing the stamps and what brains go into the logo designs. To a collector, they’re special items that conjure up memories and tales to tell. They seem to hold a lot more significance to some people because they’re rare, unique, and they’re different than a ROMLB. An autographed baseball is on thing. While on the other hand, an autographed commerative baseball is in a league of their own.

    -Mike G. / Albuquerque, NM


    Will Major League Baseball ever consider making a ball for every team with their respective logos on it?
    You know, similar to the way the NHL does it. Every NHL puck has one of the 30 teams on it, depending on who is playing at home. Here’s an example:

    I think it would be cool for MLB to do the same thing. Instead of the standard MLB logos on the balls, have the team logo in its place. (same size, and location). What do you guys think?


    why did the mets choose to go with the hat logo on their balls for this year vs the jersey patch? Is there any restrictions on size of the logo?

  16. cubbies1945

    If I couldn’t snag a commemerative ball this year, are there still chances to snag one in future years?

  17. cubbies1945

    How does a team come up with a commemerative ball logo? Why does a team decide to use a commemerative ball?
    How much more, per ball, does it cost teams to get the commemerative logo printed on each ball? How much does the commemerative logo, on the ball, cost a team per year?

  18. gregb123

    Are commemoratives still made for ALCS’ and NLCS’ every year, or did that stop a while back?

    And you have to ask about the various assortment commemoratives the Mets have used in BP over the years. Do the Mets get those at a discount because they can’t be used in games anymore? And definitely ask about those video game balls. Have there ever been promotional commemoratives like those before?

    So many things I’d like to ask!

  19. braves04

    I would love it if MLB put team logos on the balls. I collect those NHL pucks for that very reason. It would be so much fun to see how many teams you could snag in any given season.

  20. steelcity9999

    BREWFAN- email sent.

    GMEYER – Good question. I personally wouldn’t want to see each team use their own logo ball. I think it would be overkill and it would diminish the purpose and significance of special logo and commemorative event balls. The cost would prohibit many collecting the entire league run of balls.

    I also collect game pucks, but just my team’s and special events. I do miss AL/NL league balls, and their different colors of print. Maybe they could just increase the number of special event balls produced. The last 6 years or so they’ve made about 7-11 types a year, which feels like almost enough for me as a long-time collector.

  21. cjpyankee

    steelcity9999 – do you still have any of the 01’s or any other commemorative or all-stars you would want to trade? let me know please. thanks

    zack – hmm where to begin.. how about who gets the final hear say in the designs and colors.. and is there a limit on how many commemoratives a team could have.. and why not change things up again a bit on the officials? thanks – cjpyankee

  22. zackhample

    Thank you so much for all the questions. This was a huge help. I’d already thought of some of these myself, but there are a lot here that I hadn’t considered. I’m watching the Mets game on TV right now. As soon as it’s done, I’m going to make a master list and take it with me to my special meeting, which is coming up very soon…

    Nah, it’s not inappropriate. I don’t want the comments section to turn into one big commercial, but mentioning an item every now and then on eBay (especially if it’s related to what I’m blogging about) is fine.

    No, Yankee Stadium is at 161st Street. The reason I was at 149th is that I transfer there from the #2 train to the #4.


    When in Central Florida, Rawlings has an outlet store in the Lake Buena Vista area that sells All-Star, HR Derby, World Series, HOF and other commemorative balls. Also, back in the late 80s-early 90s they had a special Spring Training practice ball with a logo where the league president’s sig would be (this was when each league had its own ball); the logo had the “Killebrew” silhouette with palm trees on one side and cactus on the other. For a while, too, many of the lower-budget teams (KC and the Marlins, for instance) would use old commemoratives at BP in spring training … got a couple 2001 WS balls that way! Think the practice might have ended soon after that though … (though I did get an IL ball at BP in Tigertown in March).

  24. steelcity9999

    I just recently discovered that Spring Training ball myself. Found a good pic online: – I have one that came new in a sealed plastic bag. To my surprise, it has a “China” stamp near the sweet spot. You can tell it’s not the same high-grade leather used for Official MLB Game baseballs. Still a very cool ball and although not a regular game ball, I’m including it in my list and collection of commemoratives since it made it onto the field. Still trying to find the date of production for these balls.

  25. zackhample

    I wish I could have snagged one of those Spring Training balls. Those sound pretty sweet.

    You just know *everything* about commemorative balls, don’t you! :-)

    Sounds cool. Hope you get some interest.

  26. howard

    I have a double signature on my rawlings baseball. great condition, no broken threads, n\ball has ben hit once. not sure who signed it. need to find out. it is stamped rawlings haiti, official league genuine leather, THE FINEST IN THE FIELD. OLB. IF ANYONE KNOWS ABOUT THIS BALL CONTACT ME AT or call 4173160524. thanks

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